Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Smoking Enforcement, on 5 Aug 2019

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) what is the total number of smoking related complaints received in each of the past two years; (b) of these, how many were caught smoking in prohibited areas; and (c) how effective has thermal cameras been in enforcing smoking restrictions in prohibited areas.

Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli:

         The National Environment Agency (NEA) received about 19,000 and 25,000 instances of feedback related to smoking in 2017 and 2018 respectively. In 2018, more than 30,000 tickets were issued by NEA for smoking in prohibited places, up from more than 22,000 tickets in 2017.

2. NEA has made about 90 thermal camera deployments in residential areas with persistent feedback on smoking issues since January 2019. The thermal cameras complement NEA’s surveillance in smoking-prohibited places to detect unlawful smoking at common corridors, lift lobbies or staircase landings. These thermal cameras are able to detect objects emitting high heat and capture images of the smoking offence.

3. NEA uses the images captured by the thermal cameras along with other forms of evidence such as public feedback, for investigations. Thus far, about 70% of the deployments have captured smoking incidences, and NEA is investigating these cases. NEA will take enforcement action against smoking offenders whose identities have been established.

4. I urge smokers to be mindful of the health of others, and not light up in smoking-prohibited places. Families and friends of smokers, as well as the general public, can help reinforce the right social norms through reminders. Ultimately, we want to help smokers kick the habit for the benefit of their own health, their loved ones, and the community.

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